• The Russia connectionU.S. Officials Link COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign to Russian Proxy Accounts

    Officials in the United States have said that thousands of Russia-linked social media accounts have launched a coordinated effort to spread alarm and misinformation about the COVID-19 crisis. State Department officials involved in countering Russian disinformation said on 22 February that fake accounts are being used on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and are operating in multiple languages.

  • Cyberattacks & the economyHow Bad Are Cyberattacks for the Economy? Assessing the Damage

    Anna Scherbina, an associate professor of finance at Brandeis International Business School, served from 2017 to 2019 as a senior economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, where, among other things, she wrote the chapter on cybersecurity in the 2018 Economic Report of the President. She drew particular attention to data breaches and concluded with her colleagues that malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016, or upwards of 0.58 percent of gross domestic product.

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  • CybersecurityA Human-Machine Collaboration to Defend Against Cyberattacks

    By Zach Winn

    Being a cybersecurity analyst at a large company today is a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack — if that haystack were hurtling toward you at fiber optic speed. PatternEx merges human and machine expertise to spot and respond to hacks.

  • Terror in GermanyFar-Right Extremism "Biggest Threat in Our Country": Germany’s Interior Minister

    On Friday, Horst Seehofer, Germany’s Federal Minister of the Interior, was visibly distraught when, two days after Wednesday’s terrorist attack in Hanau, he told a hushed press conference that “The threat posed by right-wing extremism, anti-Semitism and racism is very high in Germany.” He added: “I would like to emphasize that right-wing extremism poses the greatest threat in our country.”

  • EpidemicsIran Notes More COVID-19 Cases as 2 from Diamond Princess Die

    Iran yesterday reported three more COVID-19 cases yesterday, as the number of new infections jumped in South Korea and in Japan, amid several new Diamond Princess developments, including the first two deaths and a US government agency clash over the evacuation of infected passengers. Meanwhile, China reported 394 new cases of the new coronavirus illness, a sharp drop that follows a case definition change that includes only lab-tested positives among the confirmed cases.

  • EpidemicsMapping the Spread of Coronavirus

    Researchers are using mathematical models to better understand and predict the spread of COVID-19 and to quantify the effectiveness of various efforts to stop it. The goal of the “mathematical epidemiology” model is to help the public health community understand and anticipate the spread of the infection and evaluate the potential effectiveness of different approaches for bringing it under control.

  • The Russia connectionReports: Trump Ousted Acting Intel Chief After He Warned of Russian 2020 Election Meddling

    By Jeff Seldin

    President Donald Trump fired Director of National Security Joseph Maguire, the U.S. top intelligence official, after Maguire, in a classified briefing, told lawmakers that the U.S. intelligence community is seeing an intensification of Russia’s covert efforts to help Trump’s reelection campaign. The Kremlin’s campaign, already under way, would combine elements from the Kremlin’s successful 2016 effort to help Trump – hacking of Trump’s rivals and saturating social media with fake postings – with a new emphasis on corrupting voter rolls, hacking voting machines, and disrupting vote tallies. Trump has always rejected the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion, based on incontrovertible facts, that Russia heavily interfered on his behalf in the 2016 election, preferring instead to accept Vladimir Putin’s denials that such interference took place.

  • IoTCustom Circuits to Make IoT Systems 14,000 Times Harder to Crack than Current Tech

    The “internet of things” (IoT) allows devices — kitchen appliances, security systems, wearable technologies and many other applications — to communicate with each other through networks. With the world on the verge of adopting them by the billions, the best possible security is paramount. Engineers have one-upped their own technique to increase security for the “internet of things.” In truth, their upping is far greater than one.

  • IoTEnhancing Privacy in Today's Internet of Things

    People navigating the digital landscape of today’s internet are bombarded with notices about how their data is being collected. But in the physical world — where internet of things (IoT) technologies increasingly track our activities — few, if any, notices are provided. A team of researchers has created an app and an entire infrastructure to change that.

  • AgroterrorismReaping What You Sow: The Case for Better Agroterrorism Preparedness

    By Stevie Kiesel

    For years, interest groups, academics, and policymakers have sounded the alarm on the vulnerability of U.S. crops to a terrorist attack. This article briefly reviews the history, risks, and consequences of agroterrorism attacks targeting crop yields and suggests how the recently established DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office could play a role in countering this threat.

  • RoboticsEmulating Snakes for Building Better Robots for Search-and-Rescue Missions

    Snakes live in diverse environments ranging from unbearably hot deserts to lush tropical forests. But regardless of their habitat, they are able to slither up trees, rocks, and shrubbery with ease. Mechanical engineers design a snake robot based on the climbing technique of the kingsnake. The new design could help advance search-and-rescue technology.

  • Floods“Natural” Flood Management Would Be Overwhelmed by Britain’s Winter Super-Floods

    By Robert Wilby and Simon Dadson

    As large swathes of the U.K. endure the worst floods in living memory, hearts and minds are rightly focused on protecting people and property. Once the floods recede, there will doubtless be a period of reflection on what could have been done better. It may be tempting to point the finger of blame or to promote a particular solution. But the hard truth is that there is no silver bullet for “preventing” floods.

  • Our picksRussia Is Helping Elect Trump Again: U.S. Intel | Private Flood Insurance | London Facial Recognition Cameras Fail, and more

    ·  Russia Is Helping Elect Trump Again, Intel Official Says

    ·  Christopher Steele Feared Russian Assassination after Discovering Explosive Trump-Kremlin Claims

    ·  “The Scientist and the Spy” Review: Agent Running in the Field

    ·  This Researcher Juggled Five Different Identities to Go Undercover with Far-Right and Islamist Extremists. Here’s What She Found

    ·  Dozens of Hospitals Targeted by Assad Regime During Latest Phase of Syria’s Bloody War

    ·  Border Patrol Needs Automated Sensors to Cover Watery Blindspots

    ·  Florida’s Private Flood Insurance Market Is Growing

    ·  U.K. Government’s Terror Laws Adviser Raises Fears over Reforms

    ·  London Facial Recognition Cameras Scan 4,600 Faces but Don’t Find a Single Crook

    ·  Colombia’s Drug-Funded Rebels Are Back in Action Big-Time

  • Terror in GermanyEleven Dead in Far-Right Terror Attack in the city of Hanau

    A far-right terrorist killed nine people late Wednesday in attacks on two shisha bars in the city of Hanau, near Frankfurt. Shisha bars are popular meeting places for Germans of Kurdish origin. The killer – who killed his mother and then committed suicide after the attacks – left a letter in which he took responsibility for the killing. In the letter, and in posts on social media – in German on Facebook, and in English on YouTube – the gunman railed against the “mainstream media” and expressed his belief in several conspiracy theories popular in far-right circles around the world. Wednesday attacks continue a worrisome trend of a sharp increase in far-right terrorism in Germany, a trend which has brought about a reorientation of counterterrorism efforts in Germany; the creation of a new unit within the German domestic intelligence service – staffed with 600 counterterrorism specialists — dedicated to monitoring far-right extremism in the country, the expansion of police surveillance powers; and the tightening of gun-ownership laws.

  • Terror in GermanyWhat We Know about the Gunman

    Tobias R., the 43-year of gunman who killed nine people in Hanau was active online: He published a 24-page “manifesto” on his Facebook page, and posted a video on his YouTube channel (his postings have been removed from the web). His postings repeat many of the conspiracy theories popular in far-right circles, but experts say that unlike other far-right terrorists – most recently at Christchurch, Poway, El Paso, and Halle – he was probably not part of the 8chan and 4chan image board radical right scene. In the hours after the attack, many users on these boards complained that because he failed to run a live video of his attack, there would be few imitators who would follow him, and complained that the fact that he shot into two crowded restaurants but managed to kill only nine people would make white terrorists look like idiots. Tobias R. appears to be obsessed with the idea that an unknown, all-knowing secret service is not only spying on his every move: that secret service can also read his mind.

  • Terror in GermanyGerman Rampage Confirms Worst Fears of Security Chiefs

    By Jamie Dettmer

    Wednesday’s massacre in the German town of Hanau, 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt confirmed the worst fears of Germany’s top security officials. They have been preparing for months for more far-right violence, and the shooting by a lone wolf gunman in Hanau, leaving nine dead at two hookah bars, is the type of attack that’s been preoccupying them. From Germany to Britain, alarm has been rising across Europe about the terror threat from fringe far-right groups and their supporters. Analysts and intelligence officials say the groups have been studying the tactics of jihadist factions, such as the Islamic State terror group, and copying their bomb-making methods and social-media propaganda techniques, using YouTube and messaging platforms to radicalize others and to shape their own lone wolf killers.

  • EpidemicsChina's COVID-19 Death Toll Tops 2,000; Iran Reports First Cases

    China’s death toll in its COVID-19 outbreak passed 2,000 today, as Iran reported its first two cases—both fatal—and the number of local cases grew in Japan, Singapore, and South Korea. Also, 79 more people from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan tested positive for the virus, with quarantine ending for many of those were not infected, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel watch for Hong Kong.

  • EpidemicsCoronavirus: We Need to Start Preparing for the Next Viral Outbreak Now

    By David E. Bloom and Daniel Cadarette

    The coronavirus outbreak is officially a crisis – let’s not waste it. Undeniably, the international community is taking the matter very seriously, as it should, given that the death total from the COVID-19 epidemic already well surpasses that from SARS in the early 2000s. However, even if the international response to COVID-19 has been relatively strong, it may rightfully be considered too little too late, with the epidemic already underway. That’s a mistake we shouldn’t repeat. As global health researchers, we study the full societal value of vaccination and other interventions to combat infectious disease. Given the tremendous costs associated with epidemics, it’s vital that we begin working to prevent the next outbreak, even as the world struggles to fight COVID-19.

  • Hardware securityMixed-Signal Hardware Security Thwarts Powerful Electromagnetic Attacks

    Security of embedded devices is essential in today’s internet-connected world. Security is typically guaranteed mathematically using a small secret key to encrypt the private messages. When these computationally secure encryption algorithms are implemented on a physical hardware, they leak critical side-channel information in the form of power consumption or electromagnetic radiation. Now, researchers have developed technology to kill the problem at the source itself – tackling physical-layer vulnerabilities with physical-layer solutions.

  • Flood buyoutsFlood Buyouts Benefit the Whitest At-Risk Neighborhoods

    The federal flood buyout program disproportionally benefits at-risk homes in the whitest communities of America’s largest cities, according to a new study. The study provides the first nationwide, peer-reviewed analysis of racial inequalities in the implementation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) flood buyout program. The researchers examined data in 500 municipalities across the U.S. between 1990 and 2015.

  • Our picksLong Live Cyber Deterrence! | Ransomware Hit U.S. Gas Pipeline Operator | Omaha Hospital Gets the Toughest Cases, and more

    ·  DHS Says Ransomware Hit U.S. Gas Pipeline Operator

    ·  Cyber Deterrence Is Dead. Long Live Cyber Deterrence!

    ·  Russia’s Proposed New Pipeline Threatens U.S. National Security Interests

    ·  Bill Would Force Companies to Keep Insuring Homeowners in Wildfire Zones. Will It Work?

    ·  Europe Resists Mounting U.S. Pressure on Huawei 5G Technology

    ·  Huawei Loses Legal Challenge against U.S. Federal Purchase Ban

    ·  EU Proposes Rules for Artificial Intelligence to Limit Risks

    ·  First Ebola, Now Coronavirus. Why an Omaha Hospital Gets the Toughest Cases.

    ·  Why Congress and the Pentagon Are Tussling over U.S. Troops in West Africa

    ·  North Carolina Facebook Page Labeled Fake News

  • Islamist separatismMacron: Islamist Separatism Incompatible with Freedom, Equality, Indivisibility of France

    Fighting “Islamist separatism” in France, but without stigmatizing the Muslims of France: These were the two themes in a major speech given by President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, 18 February. “Islamist separatism is incompatible with freedom and equality, incompatible with the indivisibility of the Republic and the necessary unity of the nation,” Macron said, adding: “In the Republic, we cannot accept the refusal to shake a woman’s hand because she is a woman; in the Republic, we cannot accept that someone refuses to be treated or educated by someone else;… in the Republic, certificates of virginity cannot be required [as a condition for] marriage; in the Republic, one should never accept that the laws of religion are superior to the laws of the Republic. It’s that simple.”